The eActros is on its way – our answers to your questions: Handling

Vehicle & Technology

E for electric.

The eActros is ready to go and we’ll be seeing it on the roads more and more. So we wanted to know: what are the questions you’d most like answering about electric trucks?

Handling.

Loads of you wanted to know: what’s it like to drive the new eActros?

Turn the key and... nothing. Nothing but silence. And that’s a big difference compared to a truck with an internal combustion engine. Better still, it stays this way when driving – and even when driving at full load, the noise level in the cab is drastically lower. Drivers thus enjoy a more relaxed drive.


Handling.

On the road.

To ensure this is the case, the electric motors have a special technological feature: they provide high torque across the entire engine speed range. This means that when the traffic lights turn green, you can pull away with sheer power and quickly reach your desired speed. And in doing so, there are much less vibrations than with a diesel-powered truck. The continuous output of the motors is 330 kW, while their peak performance sits at 400 kW.

But that’s enough about the drive system for now because the eActros also features a whole host of assistance systems such as MirrorCam, Active Brake Assist 5 and Sideguard Assist. Plus there is also the Multimedia Cockpit interactive, as well as comfortable seats and many more interesting items of equipment which provide valuable assistance in the daily operations of a trucker.


Safety.

Loads of you wanted to know: just how safe is the eActros in an accident?

Even if you take all the precautions in the world, accidents happen. And no-one knows that more than the Mercedes‑Benz developers, which is why they gave the eActros its very own safety concept.


Safety.


Safety first.

As part of this, a number of sensors were installed specifically to detect accidents. If actuated, they automatically disconnect the batteries from the on-board electrical system to ensure there is no risk of an electric shock when touching the vehicle.

Measures were taken for passive safety too: each battery is protected by a crash element to ensure that the forces of a side-on collision can be suitably absorbed. And finally, the driver also has the option to use the emergency-off button in the cab to manually isolate the batteries from the on-board electrical system.


The payload.

Loads of you wanted to know: what is the payload of the eActros?

Experiments with electric drives were already carried out several decades ago. But one of the biggest hurdles concerning their practical implementation was always the high weight of the batteries used at the time.


The payload.

A full belly.

Thankfully, research has made massive progress – particularly in the field of battery technologies – and thus in terms of payload, the eActros is perfectly equipped for its daily tasks.

The eActros is available either as a two or a three-axle vehicle with either 19 or 27 tonnes permissible gross weight respectively. With a trailer, it is approved for gross weights of 40 tonnes.

Just as with any other truck, this all depends on the individual equipment on-board: are three or four batteries fitted? Is there a refrigeration unit? What type of body was ordered? Which optional equipment is installed? 



Charging.

How does charging work on the eActros?

Just a few years ago, it was still unimaginable, but today it’s already in series production: a heavy-duty truck powered by electricity instead of diesel. To charge the batteries of the eActros, a CCS Combo-2 type connector is required. Although this may sound like an exotic piece of equipment, it’s actually a commonly used standard, which means that the eActros can “refuel” during a journey. The charging station itself must be equipped for DC charging – but that is also a regularly used standard.


Charging.

How long it takes to charge the vehicle is, in principle, dependent on the output of the charging station. In the best case: a DC rapid charging facility can deliver 400 amps. Charging at an ambient temperature of 20 degrees Celsius would thus enable the battery to be charged from 20 to 80 percent in just around an hour.

With appropriate charging stations, the rapid speed can also be used during any transport operations: while a truck is being loaded or unloaded, or even while the driver takes a break, the truck can be plugged in and the eActros charged back up with plenty of power for its next journey. 

You’ll find an interactive simulation here: Charging simulation

 


Range.

What range does the eActros have?

“A heavy-duty truck with an electric motor? I wonder how far that will get.” Probably a lot of people thought something like that. Initially with the test vehicles it was clear that up to 200 kilometres was quite realistic. But the series production truck can do a lot better: under favourable conditions it can manage up to 400 kilometres.


Range.


Three or four battery packs?

You have to take a closer look. There are five factors that primarily affect the range. Firstly, the eActros can be equipped with three or four battery packs. Each can store an output of 105 kWh. So one battery pack more or less can make a big difference.

Secondly: is the body a dry box body or a refrigerated body? The refrigeration unit requires electricity which must also be provided by the batteries. That takes us straight to point number three: the load. It makes a big difference whether you're travelling empty, half-full or full.

The fourth point: thermal energy – in other words, heat. The motors of the eActros are highly efficient with very little output loss. However, if excess heat is produced, it must somehow be removed. Also you must factor in that the ambient temperature can be too high or too low for the batteries. In that case the batteries themselves have to be heated or cooled. The energy required for this is no longer available for the range.

And the fifth point is the field of operation and the driving style. Stop-start traffic in a city has a completely different performance profile from, for example, smoothly flowing traffic on a motorway or distribution haulage in a flat region. Whether you accelerate often or rarely, have a number of kickdowns or none, and the choice of recuperation level – those are all decisions that the driver makes, and they can make a big difference to the range.


Plan well and drive easily.

One thing that is quite unnecessary is constantly fretting about the charge level of the batteries. The eActros comes with a comprehensive advice package so that you can determine in advance where the new truck can best be deployed and how the charging processes have to be scheduled, so you can sit back and enjoy the feeling of driving an electric vehicle.

As you can see, there are restrictions, but bear in mind that if the task is right and the route has been chosen appropriately, the eActros now offers a fully practicable alternative to a diesel truck.


If you wish to go into the topic in more depth, you can find an interactive range calculator here.


The cockpit.

In what way is the eActros cockpit different from other Mercedes‑Benz truck cockpits?

Regardless of the electric motor – when you sit down in an eActros you notice straight away: it's a Mercedes‑Benz. Multifunction steering wheel, multimedia cockpit interactive, MirrorCam, electronic parking brake … everything just like in the Actros with a combustion engine.


The cockpit.

Many things familiar and many new features: the cockpit in the eActros.


However, you immediately notice the red-and-yellow emergency stop button on the right next to the electronic parking brake.

If the system is activated, you'll notice even more differences in the eActros: the left-hand side of the primary display behind the steering wheel doesn't just show the road speed, but also the anticipated remaining range. 

To the right of the primary display there is the so-called power meter. Whenever drive is required from the motor, the power meter shows the current electricity consumption in percent. If the eActros is in a coasting phase the motor can be used as an electric generator and recharge the batteries – the much-quoted recuperation. The power meter gives information about this in percent. 

The “Active Boost” display is located directly underneath it. During a kickdown it provides information on how long the additional power is available. Always in central view: the chosen gear and the drive mode.



New menu “Battery charging”.

The secondary display of the eActros is located on the dashboard. As with the Actros, the large touchscreen provides access to a range of settings and vehicle functions, for example the heating, air conditioning or navigation. New in the eActros: in “Settings” there is the sub-menu “Battery charging”. Here you can select the departure time, charging limit and charging mode. 

And finally, drivers of Mercedes‑Benz Trucks will be familiar with many things when they first sit in an eActros. A lot of things are new, but you can rest assured that you will soon feel at home in the eActros.


Photos: Daimler AG

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